In Uzbekistan, the 21st century started as a century of culture, economy, scientific and technical innovations. Innovation factor is one of the peculiarities of modern educational system. Starting from the first years of independence, legal bases of preparing youth as harmonious persons were elaborated. Here, official acts of the Republic of Uzbekistan, decrees, enactments and social-political ideas of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, State Programs, decrees of Cabinet of Ministers, and other legislative and legal documents define the essence and significance of reforms in education.
Nowadays, in implementing the third phase of The National program for personnel training, all new specialists undergoing the higher educational system are required to know one or several foreign languages. In connection with this, huge tasks are set before teachers of English language; teachers became one of the main subjects of educational reforms. Therefore, if a teacher is open to welcome new pedagogical innovations, he or she can provide goal-oriented introduction of innovative ideas into educational process. Lately, range of significant official acts was issued on accelerating and developing the foreign languages teaching; as such they define the state policy towards teaching foreign languages. From the knowledge, experience and skills’ standpoint students’ listening, speaking, reading and writing comprehension levels are defined. As we know, four integrated skills are speaking listening, writing and reading are linked which each other. In modern teaching, these four skills are integrated. Let us see Reading separately.
It is obvious that learning English as a foreign language around the world, the situation in which most English learners find themselves, reading is the main reason why students learn the language. Therefore, it is the fact that without excellent reading skill the second language readers can not compete with their native speakers peers.
It can be considered that reading as an activity with a purpose and it is an important educational goal. The ability to read opens up new view and opportunities for everyone no matter children or adults. It motivates us enrich our knowledge, enjoy masterpieces of world literature and do everyday things, which are parts of our everyday life such as reading magazines, journals, newspapers, instruction manuals, maps etc. A reader chooses a text according to the aims given below. Reading is an interactive process that goes on between the reader and the text, resulting in comprehension . The text presents letters, words, sentences, and paragraphs that encode meaning. The reader uses knowledge, skills, and strategies to determine what that meaning is.
Therefore, reading is a dynamic process that comprises various types of knowledge and competence.
The acquisition of reading skills in a second or foreign language is a priority for millions of learners around the world, and there is a growing demand for both effective reading courses as well as high-quality second language reading materials . Since reading skill is of utmost importance, its teaching is not a simple task. Teaching reading skills to non-native speakers of English involves unique problems and challenges of all conceivable levels of instruction. Students clearly need help in learning to read in a foreign language .
Today, as English continues to dominate as the lingua franca all spheres such as business, media, technology, medicine, education, and research, the demand for ESP is growing rapidly. So, what is English for Specific Purposes?
If you have had previous experience as a teacher of English as a Foreign Language (EFL), your first question on receiving your current assignment to teach ESP may be: «How is ESP different from EFL?" The major difference between ESP and EFL lies in the learners and their purposes for learning English. ESP students are adults who already have some familiarity with English and are learning the language in order to communicate a set of professional skills and to perform particular job-related functions.
This term started to be used as a term in the 1960’s as it became increasingly aware that general English courses frequently did not meet learner’s or employer’s needs. There are different characteristics concerning ESP given by different authors.
First, in order to meet specific needs of the learners English for specific purposes isdefined. Secondly, it makes use of underlying methodology and activities of the discipline it serves and lastly, it is centered on the language appropriate to these activities in terms of grammar, lexis, register, study skills, discourse and genre.
For instance, ESP may be, but is not necessarily:
‒ restricted as to the language skills to be learned (e.g. reading only);
‒ not taught according to any pre-ordained methodology ;
Dudley-Evans and St John gave the following characteristics to ESP:
‒ ESP may be related or designed for specific disciplines;
‒ ESP may use, in specific teaching situations, another different methodology from that of general English;
‒ ESP is likely to be designed for adult learners. It could, however, be for learners at a secondary school level;
‒ ESP is generally designed for intermediate or advanced students;
The most important difference lies in the learners and their purposes for learning English. ESP students are usually adults who already have some knowledge on English. The purpose of learning the language is to communicate in a set of professional skills and to carry out particular job-related functions. Moreover, it concentrates more on language in context than on teaching grammar and language structures. ESP usually covers different spheres varying from accounting or computer science to tourism and business management. In ESP English is not taught as a subject separated from the students' real world instead, it is integrated into a subject matter area, which is important to the learners.
However, ESP differs from ESL not only in the nature of the learner, but also in the aim of instruction. It is a general rule that ESL focuses all four-language skills: listening, reading, speaking, and writing equally, in ESP it needs analysis that determines which language skills are mostly needed by the students. Moreover, the syllabus is also designed accordingly. For instance, an ESP program might focus on the development of students’ reading skills who are preparing for graduate work in computer science; or it might raise students’ speaking skills who are intending to become tourist guides. Actually, ESP includes subject matter and English language teaching. This combination is considered to be highly motivating as students are able to apply what they learn in their English classes according to their main field of study. In this way they can use what they learn in their work and studies. The ESP approach enhances the relevance of what the students learn and enables them to use English in their field of interest.
So, what are the types of English for specific purposes that we have and what does each of them study in particular? What are the expectations of ESP learners who attend such courses? Regarding to the expectations, there are three types of expectations of learners that they have:
- Cultural — educational
- Personal and individual
- Academic and occupational
The first two have a close relationship with the learner’s own background and his view of himself as a learner, his expectation of success, his optimism or pessimism about the ESP course in terms of what he expects to learn. The last ones relate to the branch of ESP, which represents the type of ESP. These sets of expectations (academic or occupational) are the ones most commonly expressed in advance, when a needs-analysis is carried out. With reference to «ELT” these two kinds of expectations are mainly two types of ESP according to the motivation, position, and status of the learners which become reasons of learning English: English for Occupational Purposes (EOP) and English for Academic Purposes (EAP). Kennedy and Bolitho add more type of ESP according to the need of scientists and technologists. This type is called English for Science and Technology (EST).
Organizing the ESP course is very important step to achieve a gratifying aim in the course. There are some factors that play a crucial role in organizing ESP course and without them learning process will be inefficient. When we speak about the term ESP, we should realize that this term refers to a specific purpose for which English is taught and the teacher should be familiar with. He or she should be able to find an answer to what Hutchinson and Waters describe as “language description”. The “language description” involves questions, e.g.: What topic areas will need to be covered? ´What does the student need to learn? ´What aspects of language will be needed and how will they be described? Hutchinson and Waters speak about “learning theory” which provides the theoretical basis for the methodology, by helping us to understand how people learn. Naturally, learning strategies vary and corresponds with learners’ groups, their age, level and sense of study. Adults’ ability of language acquisition is different from children and teachers must determine the aspects of ESP learning that should be focused on to meet learners’ needs and expectations successfully. Hutchinson and Waters specifies another aspect that affects the ESP course as well. It reveals to learners’ surrounding and considers the following questions such as “who”, “why”, “where” and “when” connected with the nature of particular aim and learning situation. They are described as needs’ analysis. To organize the ESP course effectively and consequently achieve a satisfactory goal, having respect for all three factors is evident :
A. Selecting material
Selecting ESP materials decides the running of the course and underlines content of the lesson. Great material ought to be founded on different intriguing writings and exercises giving an extensive variety of abilities. Educators figures out which parts of ESP learning will be centered around yet one bit of material can serve for growing more than one expertise, e.g. reading, listening, vocabulary. Materials should be function as a link between already learnt and new information.
B. Types of activities with text
We can use a text as a learning material to learn and practice wide range of skills. In ESP course, text can be a source for new vocabulary, communicative or reading skills.
It is important to include every student to make working with a text more efficient. Combination of printed text with listening to audiocassette or videocassette is preferable that means receptive with productive activities. Concerning the ESP exercises, it is important to remember the setting that ought to be predictable with studying subject matter.
C. Creating alearning environment— motivation
This last criterion is very crucial that should be applied during such courses. Creating a positive learning atmosphere in the classroom is a primary step for achieving setting objectives and goals. This kind of atmosphere makes teaching and learning more pleasant and enjoyable for both sides of this learning process moreover it supports students in their work. Creating a positive learning atmosphere is firmly connected with inspiration and motivation that is an important and a fundamental piece of students’ work that influences their future achievement or disappointment. Motivation is as “some kind of internal drive that encourages somebody to pursue a course of action” . We teachers should motivate students as much as possibly and make them enjoy the activity and achieve its real aim.
Summing up, I can say that as an ESP teacher we must play many roles. To organize courses, to set learning objectives, to establish a positive learning environment in the classroom, and to evaluate students’ progress should be our task, duty and aim if we want our young generation to be successful specialists.
- Aebersold, J. A., & Field, M. L. (1997). From teacher to reading teacher: Issues and strategies for second language classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Celce-Murcia, D. (2001). Teaching English as a second or foreign language. United States: Heinle & Heinle.
- Dudley-Evans, T., & St John, M. J. (1998). Developments in English for specific purposes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Harmer, J. (1991). The practice of English language teaching. London: Longman.
- Hutchinson, T. & A. Walters. 1987.English for Specific Purposes: A learning-centered approach [M]. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Heidi Byrnes, in Modules for the professional preparation of teaching assistants in foreign languages (Grace Stovall Burkart, ed.; Washington, DC: Center for Applied Linguistics, 1998)
- Strevens, P. (1988). ESP after twenty years: A re-appraisal. In M. Tickoo (Ed.), ESP: State of the art